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I have 4 kids, 4, 10, 11, and 13. My husband is very, I don't know the right word to say, but maybe naggy. A perfect example is, my 13 year old and I were heading home from his school and he was concerned of what to do with his dad's reactions towards him all the time. He feels his dad is never happy, because when he tries to do what his dad asks him, dad finds another thing to complain about. So no sooner than we walk into the house, hubby starts griping about shutting the door to the house. We haven't even placed our belongs down in order to mover out of the way to shut the door. I tried to explain that to him, but he wasn't even giving us a chance. So then the minute my son shuts the door dad begins to harp on son about his chores. Seriously, the poor kid did not stand a chance.

So I told my son to go do what his dad asked and then when my husband and I had a moment to ourselves I told him about the conversation that my son and I just had before coming home. I told my husband he is becoming to be overbearing (not the actual word I used, it was softer tone then that) and is not allowing the kids to do what they need to do before he begins to jump all over them. That ended with him apologizing to my son, but before doing so, he still yelled at our son about his room then apologized. The rest of the week hubby kept complaining that the kids are not doing their chores either at all or partially getting them done. So last night I tried to make sure the kids did their chores before dad came home so they wouldn't get in trouble. When hubby got home, he asked how come my son was sitting on the couch and I told him because he was taking an hour to read for his homework.

And he asked if my son cleaned his room and I told him no because I was trying to make sure the kids did all their major chores and homework before they go to their rooms to clean. And then he asked if my son charged his phone and again I said no because I was trying to ensure the chores were done. At this point, he started to raise his voice about how he spends $300 a month on phones and none of the kids answer them or charge them and it makes him extremely pissed. That I did not disagree with at all and told him so, he was yelling about the phone not being charged when I explained I did not allow the kids to go to their rooms because I wanted to ensure that the chores were done before he got home. He told me that I was undermining his authority in front of the kids, which I did not feel that I was. I was just trying to explain what transpired before he got home in hopes that he would be more understanding to their situation. He then blew up and stormed out of the room and I still have not spoken to him since.

This is where the strain comes in where the kids are concerned. These are situations that goes both ways. I am constantly trying to make sure the kids are doing their chores and he says I nag them to much. When I don't say anything then I am not helping him with making sure the kids are doing their chores. This plays out the same with the kids. He tells them the same thing, that I nag to much or don't help him with discipline and then he constantly is yelling at them for not doing what is asked and then turns around and gives them slack and then literally yells at them for slack and stuff should have getting done. This is where I find it troubling if I am overlooking something or not seeing his view. Or is it really him. I can't place it. Now the younger ones are starting to feel the wrath that my son has been going through. With a little back ground, my husband's mom has done this behavior as long as I have been with him and am afraid he is becoming just like her. There is no happy medium, and there is so much confusion on what is expected from me and the kids.

When I try to approach him with this, "I am now over-reacting and it's something I have to deal with." He wasn't like this until he had his heart attack and I don't know what else to do, because he refuses counseling. It's very narcissistic. I am not looking for advice to leave, but to figure out a way to get hubby and I to collaborate with each other to ensure one parent isn't doing all the harping and the other is supporting the other, and that be don't become overbearing on the kids as well, if that makes sense. I am just a loss and not sure where to go especially when counseling is out of the question.
 

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He sounds a lot like my son's father.. my ex.

Does act like this towards you in regards to things that are not related to the children? Does he pick on your for things that you do because they do not fit his idea of who they should be done?

Has he always been controlling? If not, when did he start?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
He sounds a lot like my son's father.. my ex.

Does act like this towards you in regards to things that are not related to the children? Does he pick on your for things that you do because they do not fit his idea of who they should be done?

Has he always been controlling? If not, when did he start?
He has lectured me about not doing enough around the house. We both work full time jobs. We share house work and include the kids' portion of their chores. I really think this has something to do with his heart attack he had 16 years ago. At the beginning I understood because he lost a bit of himself at such a young age, but now that it's been so long, I feel he can not use that as an excuse any longer. I have always been a clean freak and always kept up on the house hold duties. I really never asked much from him when we were single except to do the outside chores and trash. When we started having kids, he ended up having to quit his job to be a stay at home dad. This was fine for a little while, but I felt he was starting to lose more of himself because he had no adult interaction until I got home from work. When we had our 4th child I had started to suggest to him that maybe it was time he went back to work. He became very reluctant and started using his health condition as a reason to stay home.

After my mom passed last year, I asked him if he thought it was time to go back to work? Reluctantly, he said he would only because our youngest was beginning fulltime pre-k last august. We did have an argument again about household chores. He has a tendency to bring home, I feel, useless items, like a trailer that was not able to be licensed and just collected junk he "was going to throw away" but stayed in the yard for years. So I asked him to get rid of it because it was not beneficial for us to have it. He became really upset and started complaining about my "useless" stuff, like my crafts, that make us money, so I ended up having a mental break down because with just losing my mom, who I was very close to, not having my none of my brothers and sisters in my life, and with him never wanting to compromise, I just couldn't take it.

We mended that issue, so I thought, and enlisted my dad to take the kids during the summer when my hubby went back to work and then take them to school since we go to work really early. This is when more extreme behavior began, which I am sure, he hates the fact that I "forced" him to go back to work when he didn't want to. So he has been more apt to complain about everything more often since he began working. With me being the only source of income, was starting to wear on me because I have had a lot of stress related health issues and felt I couldn't be free to stay home sick because we would lose out of the money for our home. This is another reason I requested he go back to work to help me with that stress.

At this point in our lives, I feel, when it comes to our household duties, he is never happy. He always finds something to complain about. But I am not sure why it's only related to the chores, me undermining him and the "kids not listening."
 

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I added paragraphs with spacing to your posts so that they are easier to read. More people will read your posts if they are not a wall of text.

Now on to your issues....

This new info is really important and paints a much clearer picture of things.

How long was your husband unemployed and being a stay at home dad (SAHD)?

When he was a SAHD, did he do the lion's share of the work and child care? Or did you do about the same as you are doing now?

Does he like his job? How are his earnings compared to yours? What percentage of your joint income does he earn?
 

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Also... just to clarify... did his picking on you and the kids start when he had to go back to work? Or has he always been this way?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I added paragraphs with spacing to your posts so that they are easier to read. More people will read your posts if they are not a wall of text.

Now on to your issues....

This new info is really important and paints a much clearer picture of things.

How long was your husband unemployed and being a stay at home dad (SAHD)?

When he was a SAHD, did he do the lion's share of the work and child care? Or did you do about the same as you are doing now?

Does he like his job? How are his earnings compared to yours? What percentage of your joint income does he earn?
He was a SAHD for almost 10 years. So I know that played a huge part. When the 3 older ones were little, I had done most of the inside chores still even though he was a stay at home dad, it wasn't until I had the last baby, that I asked him to pick up more of the slack because he was, again, complaining that things, especially laundry, was not getting done in a timely manner. So I told him to help me more since I had to work and travel for work from time to time. So the last 4 years we both shared the duties equally.

He says he likes his job. They are investing a lot of money for training to keep him around and he said he like that.

Another thing is because of our family dynamics (my bros and sis' and his mom), he said he didn't like to see me hurt the way they have hurt me, and we have been talking about moving else where just so we can be us as a family with out interference, until this past two weeks he had been saying with what his job is wanting to do to invest in him and our kids, he is now a little reluctant to moving because the kids love where they are at, he's afraid that it might ruin things for us. I told him, even though my wish is to move someday, that I do agree that, right now, would not be a good time for us and that we need to figure out a way to not allow family interfere with our daily lives.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also... just to clarify... did his picking on you and the kids start when he had to go back to work? Or has he always been this way?
He has been picking on the kids starting when they all turned 5. I thought it may have been just because they were all so close in age but now that my 4 year old will be 5 next month he has been getting tougher on her as well. So I believe that's an age thing and teaching them even more responsibility. Which I do not disagree with, but I believe his expectations are for an adult not children, and he demands to much from them. This part is the weird part as his mother expected things to be clean but never really forced him and his sister to do chores, unless they stayed in the house. But if they played outside she wouldn't ask them to do anything. So I am not sure where this type of behavior is coming from especially about chores.
 

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I think that you need to have a sit down conversation with your hubby and sort out the expectations for everyone. You need to first admit and come to an agreement that things aren’t work right now.

But you and him have to be on the same page with the kids. Because you can’t be the “nice cop” to the kids while he is the mean cop. And I wouldn’t be happy if me spouse was undermining me with regards to the kids. Which is why you and him have to equally come to an agreement with how the kids should be handled and what their expectations should be.

The kids are old enough (except 4 year old) that they should have chores, and they should be expected to be done without having to prompt them. I also think that instead of nagging your kids to do things, you should give them space to show you they are responsible and can get things done, or they won’t and you now have every right to punish them. You both need to set the expectation for them, tell them they aren’t kids and you will stop nagging them, but if the chores do not get done then x,y,z will happen.
I think this will give your home more peace because there will be less nagging. Your kids have the ability to “make their parents proud” by doing what is expected of them, and everyone is on the same page so there is no confusion and no undermining.
 

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I think that you need to have a sit down conversation with your hubby and sort out the expectations for everyone. You need to first admit and come to an agreement that things aren’t work right now.

But you and him have to be on the same page with the kids. Because you can’t be the “nice cop” to the kids while he is the mean cop. And I wouldn’t be happy if me spouse was undermining me with regards to the kids. Which is why you and him have to equally come to an agreement with how the kids should be handled and what their expectations should be.

The kids are old enough (except 4 year old) that they should have chores, and they should be expected to be done without having to prompt them. I also think that instead of nagging your kids to do things, you should give them space to show you they are responsible and can get things done, or they won’t and you now have every right to punish them. You both need to set the expectation for them, tell them they aren’t kids and you will stop nagging them, but if the chores do not get done then x,y,z will happen.
I think this will give your home more peace because there will be less nagging. Your kids have the ability to “make their parents proud” by doing what is expected of them, and everyone is on the same page so there is no confusion and no undermining.
Thank you for your insight. This has already been done. The kids know what is expected of them as they have a chore list they follow every week. They know that if not done, their phone, tv and gaming privileges will be taken away by either my husband or myself. That isn't the issue. Husband begins to nag before the kids can even get into the door from school and he begins to scold them. This isn't fair for them as they don't get that chance to screw up if that is the case.

As for good cop bad cop. I listen to my husband's requests, I try to ensure that the kids do what is expected of them, as I agree with his wants. Even if I have to nag for a minute. I do not undermine his authority, but if I feel he is out of line, such as jumping on them before they can even begin, then yes, I will speak up for the kids. Most times I try to talk to him, just between he and I, but if he is questioning them like an interrogator, I will step in if necessary. That's not good cop bad cop, that is a parent who sees unjust before wrong can even take place. This is not good for the kids to be treated like this. I believe whole heartily on discipline and chores, I was raised this way myself, but I don't think a child should be reprimanded for things that he has or hasn't done yet, especially when just walking into the door from school. I believe in giving them the opportunity to do what is expected but then and only then, if they fail, they get punished. Being scolded before hand is only giving the kids fear and that is not ok.
 

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Does your husband still complain to you about the laundry not being done on time?

I agree with you that what you describe goes beyond what would be healthy for teaching children responsibilities and doing chores. You and your husband do need to get on the same page about this. One thing that I learned with children is that if they see that there is a disagreement like this between their parents, the children will exploit it and seek to divide the parents. Why? Because it's a way for a child to gain the power in the parent/child relationship. It's a normal thing for children to do. While your children seem to be justified in being upset with their father, them complaining to you and you taking their side in this is the dynamic I'm taking about.

I'm not suggesting that your children are wrong or that you are wrong. What I'm saying is that the dynamics in your family are giving your children the control. The strongest relationship in a family must be between the parents, otherwise this sort of thing happens.

IMO, the question is how do you influence your husband to stop what he's doing so the two of you can work together and take back your position of "parents".

You said that your husband will not go to counseling. But you might benefit from going and working with someone who can help you figure out how to influence your husband to change.

One thing that comes to mind is that you say that he starts going at the kids verbally when he walks in the door. Is there a lot of pressure on him from work that he's unloading on the kids when he first come home? See if you can get him to agree that when he first comes home from work, the first half hour is his decompression time. That means that he can go somewhere quite in the house (or outside).

Also, here is a book that might help you brainstorm on how to work through this.... The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

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Thank you for your insight. This has already been done. The kids know what is expected of them as they have a chore list they follow every week. They know that if not done, their phone, tv and gaming privileges will be taken away by either my husband or myself. That isn't the issue. Husband begins to nag before the kids can even get into the door from school and he begins to scold them. This isn't fair for them as they don't get that chance to screw up if that is the case.



As for good cop bad cop. I listen to my husband's requests, I try to ensure that the kids do what is expected of them, as I agree with his wants. Even if I have to nag for a minute. I do not undermine his authority, but if I feel he is out of line, such as jumping on them before they can even begin, then yes, I will speak up for the kids. Most times I try to talk to him, just between he and I, but if he is questioning them like an interrogator, I will step in if necessary. That's not good cop bad cop, that is a parent who sees unjust before wrong can even take place. This is not good for the kids to be treated like this. I believe whole heartily on discipline and chores, I was raised this way myself, but I don't think a child should be reprimanded for things that he has or hasn't done yet, especially when just walking into the door from school. I believe in giving them the opportunity to do what is expected but then and only then, if they fail, they get punished. Being scolded before hand is only giving the kids fear and that is not ok.


Have you talked to him about this? Tell him not to nag them at all. What does he say?
 
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